In her revised and updated second edition of Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs (HarperCollins, 2007), Egyptologist Barbara Mertz (also known variously as Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels) takes us back to antiquity on a new journey through the ancient Egyptian civilization. This publication on Egyptian history is written with all the objectivity of a scholar combined with the story-telling skills of an author and the orderliness of an organizer. It is to the latter of these that the book owes its success of completeness while covering thirty-one dynasties and reaching the Roman conquest of Egypt by Julius Caesar.
Egyptology is a vast subject-a whole field of knowledge within the broad realm of history. It may be approached as a science or art, always in danger of biases, nescience, pedantic exaggeration, or even political partiality. Barbara Mertz accomplishes a balanced roundup of the genealogical, political, cultural, intellectual, and archaeological history of Egypt through 5000 years. She speaks to her readers through the pages of the book and maintains her personal voice-much like a learned commentator does in a documentary video.
While Mertz’s imagery is concise, her book carries a number of sketches, some maps of ancient Egypt, and some high-quality colored photographs-all illumining the important archaeological details of the ancient Egyptian civilization. For the interested reader, the book includes a list of useful readings on related topics along with an index to the book’s key topics at the end.
Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs also deconstructs some popular myths about the Egyptian history and civilization. This is one good reason why the speculating mind should go through this book. By her explanatory, easy-to-grasp style of writing, Barbara Mertz makes Egyptology easy and interesting with this latest, hard-cover edition of Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs.